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The Royal College of Psychiatrists Improving the lives of people with mental illness

Invited Review Service  


Invited Review ServiceThis high quality expert service aims to support NHS mental health providers and independent sector organisations to resolve concerns about individual, team and service quality and performance.

A standardised approach to invited reviews has been developed, which combines a comprehensive knowledge of current standards and guidelines for high quality services with a wide range of clinical experience and skills. Following the review, we will provide recommendations that are salient and achievable.

Professor Rob Poole is the Specialist Adviser for Remediation and was appointed in July 2013.


Service overview

We provide independent and professional advice when concerns have been identified in areas such as:

  • Clinical service organisation (this can include for example; service configuration, resources, workload issues)
  • Clinical service quality
  • Clinical team functioning
  • The clinical practice of individual clinicians or teams

There are broadly three types of Invited Review Service (IRS) that can be set up:

  1. Service review – the IRS will provide an expert opinion in relation to identified concerns about a specific clinical service. This will normally involve examination of relevant documentation, a site visit and meetings with relevant individuals in the service.

  2. Individual/Team review – the IRS will provide an expert opinion on identified individual/team functioning where the employer believes that concerns about clinical practice can be resolved through external professional advice that is credible to all parties. This will normally involve a site visit, meetings with relevant individuals and examination of documentation.

  3. Case note review – in this type of review the IRS will provide an independent expert opinion on whether the assessment and clinical management of patient(s) is within the range of acceptable practice, using approved/evidence based documents to benchmark the clinical practice that is being assessed. These documents include: Good Psychiatric Practice, CR154 (February 2009), Good Medical Practice, General Medical Council (2009) and any other faculty-specific guidance.


How can an Invited Review help?

The IRS can help in cases where severe difficulties have been identified which:

  • Cannot be rectified by internal processes,

  • Do not meet criteria for the formal involvement of regulators.

We aim to provide a limited number of clear and implementable recommendations to improve the quality of patient safety and care.


Who can commission an Invited Review?

The IRS will only accept commissions for an Invited Review from the Medical Director and/or the Chief Executive of bodies that provide mental health care. However, terms of reference (ToR) can be developed with less senior managers (normally medical managers) and the tasks related to organising the review can be delegated to other members of staff.


Is an Invited Review appropriate?

The Invited Review Service will not conduct a review if:

  • A GMC Fitness to Practice investigation is underway.
  • We do not have consent from doctors who may be subject to criticism.
  • The Police or Counter Fraud service is involved.
  • The Medical Director or CEO has not commissioned the review.


Operating principles

For more information on the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges' ‘Operating principles for managing invited reviews within healthcare’, please see here.


How to contact us

The IRS encourages early confidential discussion where an Invited Review is under consideration. The initial approach should be made to the IRS Manager by the organisation’s Medical Director with the knowledge of the Chief Executive.

Professor Poole will help draft terms of reference for Invited Reviews. We believe that identification of appropriate terms of reference is an essential element of a high quality review.


Phone: 020 3701 2583


Interested in becoming a Member of an Invited Review Team?

If you have an interest in the work of the IRS, and you are a Consultant Psychiatrist of at least five years standing, who is a Member or Fellow of the College, then please click here for further information on the role.


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